First step is to prepare your pot. Wash in hot soapy water to clean and remove any clay dust that may be on it. Let the pot dry over night. Then oil it! The pot will likely absorb about 1/2 cup of oil. I used canola oil. But just remember, whatever oil you use, the flavour lingers in the pot for quite awhile. Just keep rubbing it on, including the rim, until it stops soaking it up. Then oil it and put in a 400F oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool and rub with oil one last time. Your pot is ready! It can be used over and over.
I think this would be a fun presentation for a gift. Just wrap in cellophane paper and tie with a piece of raffia.
Your regular bread recipe will be excellent when cooked in the pot. One tip is to remove the bread from the pot about 10 minutes before it is fully cooked and lay it on a pan to finish the baking. All bread is better if removed from the loaf pans and inverted on a sheet pan for the last ten minutes of baking. This clay pot method makes such a beautiful toothsome crust.
Fast Whole Wheat Breadfrom The Joy of Cooking
Stir together in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer:
1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) quick-rising active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup very warm water (115-125F)
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Mix by hand or on low speed for one minute. Gradually add 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is moist but not sticky:
3/4 to 1 cup whole wheat flour
Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it over once to coat with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75-80F) until doubled in volume, 30 to 45 minutes.
Punch the dough down, form it into a loaf that will fit the flower pot and place seam side down in the greased pot. Cover loosely with oiled pastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450F. Bake the loaf for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and bake until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes more. Remove the loaf from the pan to a rack and let cool completely.